Desert Embroidery: Bedouin Women's Empowerment and Tradition
Desert Embroidery: Bedouin Women's Empowerment and TraditionJul 16, 2015 12:30pm
Improving the status of Bedouin women raises the level of education, health care, and income for entire Bedouin communities. Yet, with access to modern opportunities often restricted to women within Bedouin society, a number of associations developed unique strategies to empower women within cultural traditions.
On July 16th, the Task Force and NCJW hosted Naama Al Sana, winner of the 2015 Rappaport Lifetime Award for Women Generating Change in Israeli Society, and Hasan Sana, for a discussion and presentation of the work of Lakia Desert Embroidery. As founders of this women's association, these changemakers saw traditional crafts as a a source of economic opportunities for women, as well as a platform for education, literacy, and dialogue with othes. As a result of this work, more young Bedouin women are being encouraged to study and stay in school longer.
About the speakers:
Naama Al Sana is a rare combination of artist and activist for women's rights. She was born into a family of 13 children and grew up in a tent in the northern Negev desert. Naama was among the first generation of Negev Bedouin to benefit from compulsory education. Naama reports that as a child her mother would always "check" her homework and make sure she was ready for school. Neither Naama nor her siblings realized until years later that their mother could neither read nor write. Today Naama's siblings include teachers, a school principal, social worker, lawyer, doctor, high tech initiator and Amal Elsana Alh'jooj, the founder of AJEEC. Naama herself is a founder of The Association for the Improvement of Women's Status Lakia and has been director of the organization and the Desert Embroidery Project for many years. Naama is the mother of four and the grandmother of three. This year she won the prestigious Rappaport Lifetime Award for Women Generating Change in Israeli Society.
Hasan Sana is a founder of the Association for the Improvement of Women's Status and Director of Youth Leadership Projects. Hasin never married but is the caregiver for several young nieces. She is well known for her embroidery skills in the community and is often asked to teach embroidery in the schools in Lakia. Hasan works as a guide at the Desert Embroidery Visitor Center and also works in quality control for the Desert Embroidery Project.